Brief Summary


What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School


Why They Can’t Make You Street Smart

Mark H. McCormack


The best lesson anyone can learn from a business school is an AWARENESS of what it can’t teach you – all the ins and outs of everyday business life. This book is really about street smarts – the ability to make active and positive use of your insights, instincts and perceptions. Street smarts are simply applied People Sense, the basis of any business association. Street smarts involve reading people and using that knowledge to get what you want. Business demands innovation, of being on the leading edge of any field of business expertise. Intellect, intelligence or graduate degrees will never be substitutes for common sense, people sense and street smarts.

This book is divided into three parts.

Part 1 of the book talks about the People. Learn to read the people. It advises students to Create Impressions. Book advocates to take the edge, by taking initiatives. Students should learn to get ahead by understanding accurately the way the corporate game is played.

Part 2 of the book talks about Sales & Negotiation. It highlights the Problem of Selling and discusses the only way to learn these techniques by being in sales situations. The author emphasizes timing, he tells that ideas fail more often because of bad timing and not because of their bad merit. Students should remember that silence is golden. Silence keeps buyer say more than he intends to. The practical meaning of marketability is explained in this part. The connection between the features of your product and the perceived benefits your client actually gets from buying that product is marketability. Lastly, in this part, the author advises developing Negotiation skills. It is a must.

Part 3 revolves around running a Business. He writes that building a new business is simply turning theories into practice. He cautions by indicating that everything gets harder to change once they are established, as momentum is involved. The challenges of starting and running a business are vastly different. Time Management is important in business. The trick is to fit activities into the available time, not find more time to accommodate activities. Finally, in this part he advised entrepreneurs to have an emotional commitment to the business they start.

The book is concluded with an interesting discussion on - What makes a champion in the sporting field? He listed three major attributes namely:

Champions are profoundly dissatisfied with their own performance, and use any success as a stepping stone along the way to even greater performance levels. There is never any complacency or basking in past glories.

Champions perform very best at their highest level for major events. They have the ability to peak at the right time, rather than constantly trying to maintain a performance level.

A champion never feels like he is ahead during the competition. He is on edge and fighting from behind, no matter what the scoreboard states. This translates into a performance with a slight edge to it.

MBA colleges cannot and do not teach students how to be street-smart. Students have to go out and get experience from the business world to start developing the ability to make the best of their business strengths.

Fortunately, India’s few top emerging B-Schools like ABBS plays a catalytic role in enabling students to become street smart. ABBS faculties graduated from foreign institutions and from premier institutions like IIMs have rich industry experiences of decades in various functional areas. Techno – Academically expert faculties at ABBS conceptualized and practice one of its class teaching-learning practices like conducting Book Reviews, Armageddon, Corporate Konnects, Toastmaster, and a host of other activities under its innovative 70: 30 teaching – learning philosophy.

Business is a competition, and any high-level, sophisticated competition is played more in the head than it is in the office. Students at ABBS learn the effective techniques of salesmanship, negotiating skills, starting, building and running a business, managing people and getting things done by keeping eyes open to experiences happening all around. Students at ABBS develop skills for innovative and creative thinking combined with intuitive business knowledge. Faculties at ABBS come in the picture here and play a crucial role in making the student street smart.

However, it all depends on choice and selection of the institute. It’s up to the students to decide where to learn and build a career.


Author:  Dr. Prof. VS Chauhan, Professor, Acharya Bangalore B-School (ABBS)